Co-Host of WWL's "SportsTalk with Bobby Hebert & Deke Bellavia," Weekdays 4-8PM
Deke's Prep Preview: The 'one and done' season is here!
by Deke Bellavia,posted Nov 9 2012 2:21PM
The trek to the LHSAA State Finals December 7th and 8th in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome begins this weekend with the bi-district round of the state playoffs. The top 32 teams in each of the five classes will open play with the top 16 seeds hosting first-round games, while seeds 17-32 hit the road.
Can you say, "road trip?" Yes folks, this week’s All State Sugar Bowl prep football roundup is going to be fun to say the least. The show will originate from the campus of South Lafourche High School as the Ruston Bearcats (5-5) take on the South Lafourche Tarpons (9-0.)
The Bayou is jumping and the folks in the community of South Lafourche are fired up about their Tarpons. Yes, many teams in the state of Louisiana have had very good seasons, but the Tarpons have been somewhat overlooked. South Lafourche quietly finished the season with a perfect 9-0 mark, making the Tarpons perfect in the regular season for the first time since 1966. The weather should be perfect, and one of the state’s most storied programs will be in town to take on South Lafourche this weekend.
When you talk about prep football in the state of Louisiana, Ruston High School is one name that is always mentioned as one of the best programs in the history of prep football here in The Boot. Although Ruston is a 5-5 team this season, the Bearcats have the full attention and respect of the home-standing Tarpons. Ruston is 5-5 and they are the 25th seed in the Class 5A bracket. They started the season rather slow coming out the gate with a 0-2 mark and then 1-3.
But credit the Bearcats as they played well down the stretch of the season to earn a spot in the post-season. Ruston hails from district 2-5A where they were 2-2 in league play. Ruston scored 277 points this season and they allowed a total of 204 points.
Ruston averages scoring 27.7 points per game while allowing 20.4 points per game with a 7.3 average margin of victory. Ruston’s five losses this season came to very good opponents in the #1 ranked team in 4A Neville 23-2; Bastrop of 4A also beat Ruston 45-30; 5A power CE Byrd beat the Bearcats 48-6; and Ruston also lost to Ouachita Parish 48-33. Defending 5A champ West Monroe handed Ruston a 35-0 loss.
Ruston does have five wins this season, but only two wins came against teams in Class 5A. Their other three wins came against 4A Minden 59-14, 3A North DeSoto, and 1A Arcadia 48-6. Of the Bearkats' five wins, only two came against teams that made the state playoffs this season.
Now one of the best stories this season that not many have heard or read about is way down on the bayou in Galliano, where the South Lafourche Tarpons reside. South Lafourche posted their first undefeated regular season since 1966 and they did so rather impressively.
The Tarpons are 9-0 and earned the 8th seed in the Class 5A playoffs. Coach Dennis Skains has had his team improve from week to week, and he knows that this weeks' challenge against Ruston is going to be difficult.
When you look at Skains’s resume it should be no surprise that he is having great success. After all, Coach Skains was an assistant under two of the greatest coaches in state history in Sonny Charpentier and Jim Hightower.
Now Skains has the Tarpons playing at a high level and he is hoping to lead his team deep into the playoffs. South Lafourche scored 367 points in the regular season, averaging 41 points per game. The Tarpons allowed just 148 points, surrendering just 16.4 per outing with an average margin of victory at 24.6.
The Tarpons ran thorough district 7-5A this season with a perfect 6-0 mark. They won seven games this season against Class 5A opponents and scored 35 or more points on six occasions. The Tarpons' defense also deserves some credit as they held opponents to eight points or less four times in the 2012 regular season. SL’s best win of the season took place in week six when they hit the road to beat New Iberia.
This game should be a good one as Ruston is always a team that plays hard and has a lot of tradition. Coach Billy Laird will have his Bearcats ready to play. The Tarpons are looking to gain some state-wide respect, and a deep run in the playoffs would be just what the doctor ordered.
Other big games include:
Lafayette @ Rummel (sat)
West Jefferson @ Jesuit (sat)
Covington @ Mandeville
Alexandria @ St. Augustine